Grangemouth petrochemical plant owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has submitted a late offer to buy Chelsea Football Club for around £4.25bn.
The Ineos chief executive’s 11th-hour bid was registered with merchant bank Raine on Friday morning – despite coming more than two weeks after the deadline for new proposals passed.
Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men, is understood to have pledged a £1.75bn investment in the English Premier League club, its Stamford Bridge stadium and infrastructure on top of a further £2.5bn payment to a charitable trust set up by current owner Roman Abramovich to support victims of war in Ukraine.
In a statement, he described the offer as a “British bid, for a British club,” adding he was making the investment as “a fan of the beautiful game – not as a means to turn a profit”.
Three other consortiums, all with backing from owners of American sports teams, have already been registered for the current European champions after Abramovich announced his decision to end his near-20 year ownership of the club amid alleged links with Vladimir Putin and the ongoing conflict.
Interested parties were initially given a cut off date of April 14 to submit finalised bids following a three-day extension.
However, Sky News reported on Thursday that Abramovich had upped his asking price for the club by £500m – taking the total fee to £2.5bn, of which £1bn will be donated to charities.
Ratcliffe, whose net worth is thought to be around £10bn, has already invested heavily in sport, inking a five-year agreement with the Mercedes Formula 1 team in 2020 to go along with cycling’s Team Ineos and sailing’s Ineos Britannia squad.
The Monaco-based billionaire also owns the the Swiss football club FC Lausanne-Sport and the French Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice.
An Ineos statement read: “Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos, has made a formal bid for Chelsea FC, for £4.25bn; £2.5bn is committed to the Charitable Trust to support victims of the war, with £1.75bn committed to investment directly into the club over the next 10 years.
“This is a British bid, for a British club. We believe that a club is bigger than its owners who are temporary custodians of a great tradition. With responsibility to the fans and the community.
“That is why we are committing to spending £1.75bn over 10 years that will be for the direct benefit of the club.
“We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC. This will be organic and ongoing so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.
“We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first class squad of the world’s greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men’s and women’s games.
“And we hope to continue to invest in the academy to provide opportunity for talented youngsters to develop into first class players.”
It added: “We believe that London should have a club that reflects the stature of the city. One that is held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We intend Chelsea to be that club.
“We are making this investment as fans of the beautiful game – not as a means to turn a profit. We do that with our core businesses.
“The club is rooted in its community and its fans. And it is our intention to invest in Chelsea FC for that reason.”